Coffee Terminology

Grasping a few key coffee-making principles and terms will dramatically lift the quality of your coffee. We help you unpack the jargon.

Hario Drip Decanter Pour Over Pack

Know your A to Z of coffee

We’ve compiled this list following your questions and queries about coffee and coffee-making. It continues to be a work in progress, so if you require clarification, have questions or comments, please email us at .




Ablel Coffee Disk Fine for Aeropress

Able Brewing

An American brand of coffee-making equipment that started out by making metal filters for Aeropress and Chemex coffee makers.

View Able Brewing products in the shop.

Aeropress in use


A brand and model of press coffee maker made by Aerobie, the frisbee people.

View the Aeropress in the shop


Coffea arabica is a species of coffea. Arabica is generally less disease resistant, has a lower yield and is more challenging to grow than the other widely commercially grown species of coffeacoffea canephora (aka robusta). With a more pleasant, fruity and, in general, more interesting flavour profile, arabica makes up the vast majority of speciality coffees, but is no guarantee of quality in and of itself.


Cafelat Tamping Mat Flat


The removable metal receptacle placed in the head of the portafilter to hold ground coffee when making espresso.


A person who makes coffee. In common usage a trained, coffee-making professional. Not to be confused with a barrister.


The swelling of ground coffee when water is poured over the top, especially when making Pour Over or cupping. Is caused by the release of gases of the cellular structure of the coffee bean after the coffee is ground. Recently roasted and freshly ground coffee has more gas release, so the bloom is generally seen as a good thing.

Drip Scale in use

Brew Ratio

The recipe for making coffee with a particular set of equipment.  By measuring the dry mass of the coffee (the dose), the extracted mass of the coffee, and the time coffee and water are in contact, it is possible to determine the rate of extraction when making espresso. When brewing coffee, the brew ratio usually refers to the dry mass of the coffee, the mass of the water and the time.



Aka French Press.

Chemex Coffee Maker 8 Cup with Glass Handle in use


An American brand of glass coffee makers celebrated for their distinctive shape and high quality.

View Chemex products in the shop.


It’s worth noting that the terms ‘coffee’ can refer to the plant, the fruit (the coffee cherry), green coffee beans, roasted coffee beans, or the drink.

Coarsen the Grind

To adjust a grinder so that the coffee is ground in large granules. This has the affect of lessening the extractioncf. Fine the Grind.


Coffea is a genus of flowering plants whose seeds, which come to be the coffee beans, are used to make coffee. The two commonly grown commercial species of coffea are coffea arabica and coffea canephora.


A generic terms for a Pour Over Dripper, used primarily in the USA.


The foam that forms on the top of a freshly made espresso. A large volume of crema has traditionally seen as the sign of a good espresso, although this is not always the case.


A standardised method of preparing coffee, primarily for assessing its quality and flavour profile. The method is simple and straightforward; the key benefit is that growers, brokers, roasters, shops and consumers can all use the same method ensuring an accurate benchmark across the supply chain.



Freshly roasted coffee gives off carbon dioxide (CO₂) and is commonly left to de-gas before packing. All our coffees are packed in bags with a one way value so that the heavier carbon dioxide displaces oxygen (O₂) from the sealed bag, which has the effect of slowing oxidisation and prolonging the life of the coffee.


The name of the Hario Pour Over coffee-making device.

View Hario products in the shop


The amount, usually measured in grams, of dry coffee used to make coffee in a brew ratio. Or as a verb, the act of weighing out a dry mass of coffee.




The method of making coffee by forcing hot water through ground coffee contained in a basket. Also refers to the drink made using this method. See Coffee Drink Nomenclature for information on various types of espresso drinks.

Rocket Espresso Evoluzione Cellini in use

Espresso Machine

The machine used for making espresso.

View Espresso Machines in the shop.


Canadian coffee-focused designer and manufacturer who specialise is using technologies and industrial design to improve the quality of coffee-making.

View Espro products in the shop.

Espro Press Large in use

Espro Press

A model of double-filtered French Press made by Canadian coffee-making equipment company Espro.

View Espro Presses in shop


The process of mixing water with ground coffee so that the gases and solubles combine with the water to create coffee. Often referred to in the context of the quality of the extraction.



In the context of a drink it means coffee that has been brewed, as primarily opposed to espresso. Also refers to brewing method categories, such as Pour Over, as well as to the actual filtering membrane.

Fine The Grind

To adjust a grinder so that the coffee is ground in smaller granules. This has the affect of  the increasing the extractioncf. Coarsen the Grind.

French Press

A style of brewing coffee maker, where coffee is steeped in water before a filter mechanism to passed down the cylinder to push the grounds to the bottom and to leave brewed coffee ready to serve. Aka Cafetière and Plunger.

Full Circle

Consumer brand of environmentally-focused, specialist coffee-equipment cleaning products for use at home. Owned by the coffee-making equipment cleaning specialists Urnex.

View Full Circle products in the shop



The process of breaking down roasted coffee beans into small, more readily soluble granules, called grounds, for emersion in water to make coffee. To fine the grind is to reduce the particle size to increase extraction, while to coarsen the grind is to increase the particle size to reduce the extraction.


A machine for grinding whole coffee beans into grounds.

View grinders in shop

Group Head

The exit point for pressurised, hot water on an espresso machine under which the portafilter attaches.


Ground coffee ready for making into a coffee beverage. Spent grounds are ground coffee granules that have been used for making coffee and are now ready for discarding.



Japanese specialist glass manufacturers, who are also a market leader in coffee-making equipment.

Find out more about Hario
View Hario products in the shop


Iced Coffee Maker

A style of coffee preparation where water from melting ice is passed through a bed of ground coffee to make a coffee beverage. Because the temperature of the water is cool, a prolonged contact time is required to ensure adequate extraction. Can also refer to methods where the coffee is prepared either hot or at ambient temperature and then cooled with ice.



See milk jug.



Japanese brand of coffee-making equipment that specialists in Pour Over equipment.

View Kalita coffee-making equipment


A stainless steel filter designed by Able Brewing for Chemex coffee makers. Not to be confused with a coffee-making cone.

View the Able Kone for Chemex


Latte Art

The creation of images and patterns on the surface of espresso drinks by pouring stretched milk poured through the surface of the espresso.


Mahlkönig Vario Electric Coffee Grinder


German brand of grinders with a line of specialist coffee grinders for both commercial and consumer markets.

Milk Jug / Milk Pitcher

Receptacle, commonly made from stainless steel, in which cold milk is heated and aerated when preparing milk for pouring over espresso to create espresso-based milk drinks. The creation of images and patterns for the pouring of milk is called Latte Art. See Coffee Drink Nomenclature for information on various types of espresso drinks.


Italian specialist stainless steel fabricators, with a specialist line of milk jugs.

See Motta products in the shop


Natural Processed

Harvested coffee cherries are dried, commonly on terraces or raised tables, before the cherry’s flesh is removed. The term covers a wide variety of national and local techniques, but the result is often sweeter and sometimes more complex flavour. cf. Wet Processed.


Over Extracted

A coffee making process that has taken out too many oils and soluables from the coffee grounds, typically resulting in a bitter taste. cf.  under extracted. Is usually resolved by reducing the dose or coarsening the grind to shorten the brewing time.



Spanish designer and manufacturer of coffee equipment cleaning tools.

View Pällo products in the shop.


Aka French Press.


The handle that holds the basket and connects to the group head of an espresso machine.

Hario Drip Decanter Pour Over Pack

Pour Over

The coffee-making method where water is poured over ground coffee, usually in a Dripper containing a filter paper, and is allowed to pass through under the force of gravity. The measurement of the dry coffee, amount of water and the time that they are in contact is called the brew ratio.


Brand of commercially-focused coffee-equipment cleaning products. Owned by Urnex.

View Puro cleaning products.


Quality Coffee

We talk about making quality coffee for the sake of clarity. We form part of the speciality coffee sector.



A species of commercially grown coffea which originated in Ethiopia and is now cultivated throughout the coffee growing regions of the world. It is more hardy and has a higher yield than the other main species of commercially grown coffee, arabica. Robusta has a reputation for having a flat, muddy flavour profile. While this is not always the case, it is commonly so. Consequently crops of arabica make up the vast majority of the global speciality coffee production.

Rocket Espresso

Espresso machine manufacturer based in Milan, Italy renowned for its specialist domestic espresso machines.

Find out more about Rocket Espresso.
View Rocket Espresso products in the shop.

Rate of Extraction

The speed with which water steeps with the soluble parts of ground coffee. Is primarily determined by the rate with which the water passes through a bed of coffee or the size of the grounds. Also read Brew Ratio.


Speciality Coffee

The Speciality Coffee Association of Europe defines speciality coffee as “a crafted quality coffee-based beverage, which is judged by the consumer (in a limited marketplace at a given time) to have a unique quality, a distinct taste and personality different from, and superior to, the common coffee beverages offered. The beverage is based on beans that have been grown in an accurately defined area, and which meet the highest standards for green coffee and for its roasting, storage and brewing.” Because this means little to most consumers, we talk about ourselves as serving quality coffee.

Stove Top

An Italian method of making coffee on a hob. Traditionally popular has the brew can have an espresso-like viscosity.

Hario Syphon brewing


The model name of Japanese coffee equipment manufacturer Hario‘s vacuum pot.

See Syphon coffee makers in the shop


Tamp / Tamper / Tamping

To tamp is the process of compressing a dry mass of ground coffee into a portafilter’s basket. The tamper is the device used by the barista to compress the coffee.


Under Extracted

A coffee-making process that has taken out too few oils and solubles from the coffee grounds, typically resulting in a sour taste. cf.  over extracted. Is usually resolved by increasing the dose and/or fining the grind to lengthen the brewing time.


Manufacturer of various cleaning products sold across a portfolio of brands. We stock the commercially-focused Puro and the consumer-focused, environmentally-friendly Full Circle products.


Vacuum Pot

A category of coffee maker which draws steeping coffee through a filter by creating a vacuum in a lower chamber. The Hario Syphon is a vacuum pot.


Wet Processed

Harvested coffee cherries are processed – typically in a washing process – before drying. A more recent coffee processing method. cf. Natural Processed. The term covers a variety of national and local techniques, but the result is often a more acidic, tighter flavour with greater clarity.

Hario Woodneck Drip Pot 3 Cup


Common name for the Hario Drip Pot, which has a wooden collar so that the glass unit can be handled while hot.



For the sake of clarity, it’s spelt with an ‘s’. Your barista is likely to giggle behind your back if you ask for an expresso. See Espresso (/ɛˈspɹɛsəʊ/).



A measure of farm productivity. The quantity of coffee cherries are measured. Usually recorded in Kg per plant or per m².


Zero Japan Cup Kikko Blue

Zero Japan

Japanese crockery producer who specialise in high-quality, stoneware crockery and are based in the Mino region, where pottery has been produced for over 1,200 years.

View Zero Japan products in the shop